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Rheumatoid arthritis can come on gradually
or suddenly, and usually develops simultaneously on both sides of
the body with painful inflammation, tender swelling, stiffness,
contractures, and thickening or nodules around the joints.
Homeopathy is often helpful for relieving pain and stiffness. A
constitutional remedy, with the guidance of an experienced
homeopath, is often the best approach for dealing with chronic
For dosage information, please read the information at the end of
this section. See also “Using Homeopathy With Professional
Guidance” in What
Arnica: Chronic arthritis with a
feeling of bruising and soreness may be helped by this remedy. The
painful parts feel worse from being moved or touched. (Herbal Arnica
gels and ointments may also help to soothe arthritic pain when
applied externally to areas of inflammation and soreness.)
Aurum metallicum: Wandering pains
in the muscles and joints that are better from motion and warmth,
and worse at night, suggest a need for this remedy. Deep pain may be
felt in the limbs when the person tries to sleep, or discomfort may
wake the person up. People who need this remedy are often serious
and focused on work or career, with a tendency to feel depressed.
Bryonia: This remedy can be helpful
for stiffness and inflammation with tearing or throbbing pain, made
worse by even the smallest motion. The condition may have developed
gradually, and is worse in cold dry weather. Discomfort is
aggravated by being touched or bumped, or from any movement.
Pressure brings relief (if it stabilizes the area) and improvement
also comes from rest. The person may want to stay completely still
and not be interfered with.
Calcarea carbonica: This remedy may
be useful for deeply aching arthritis involving node formation
around the joints. Inflammation and soreness are worse from cold and
dampness, and problems may be focused on the knees and hands.
Weakness in the muscles, easy fatigue from exertion, and a feeling
of chilliness or sluggishness are common. A person who needs Calcarea
is often solid and responsible, but tends to become extremely
anxious and overwhelmed when ill or overworked.
Causticum: This remedy may be
indicated when deformities develop in the joints, in a person with a
tendency toward tendon problems, muscle weakness, and contractures.
The hands and fingers may be most affected, although other joints
can also be involved. Stiffness and pain are worse from being cold,
and relief may come with warmth. A person who needs this remedy
often feels best in rainy weather and worse when the days are clear
Calcarea fluorica: This remedy is
often indicated when arthritic pains improve with heat and motion.
Joints become enlarged and hard, and nodes or deformities develop.
Arthritis after chronic injury to joints also responds to Calcarea
Dulcamara: If arthritis flares up
during cold damp weather, or after the person gets chilled and wet,
this remedy may be indicated. People needing Dulcamara are
often stout, with a tendency toward back pain, chronic stiffness in
the muscles, and allergies.
Kali bichromicum: When this remedy
is indicated, arthritic pains may alternate with asthma or stomach
symptoms. Pains may suddenly come and go, or shift around.
Discomfort and inflammation are aggravated by heat, and worse when
the weather is warm.
Kali carbonicum: Arthritis with
great stiffness and stitching pains, worse in the early morning
hours and worse from cold and dampness, may respond to this
remedy—especially if joints are becoming thickened or deformed.
People who need this remedy often have a rigid moral code, and tend
to feel anxiety in the stomach.
Kalmia latiflora: Intense arthritic
pain that flares up suddenly may responds to this
remedy—especially when problems start in higher joints and extend
to lower ones. Pain and inflammation may begin in the elbows,
spreading downward to the wrists and hands. Discomfort is worse from
motion and often worse at night.
Ledum palustre: Arthritis that
starts in lower joints and extends to higher ones may respond to
this remedy. Pain and inflammation often begin in the toes and
spread upward to the ankles and knees. The joints may also make
cracking sounds. Ledum is strongly indicated when swelling is
significant and relieved by cold applications.
Pulsatilla: If rheumatoid arthritis
pain is changeable in quality, or the flare-ups move from place to
place, this remedy may be useful. The symptoms (and the person) feel
worse from warmth, and better from fresh air and cold applications.
People who need this remedy usually are emotional and affectionate,
sometimes having teary moods.
Rhododendron: This remedy is
strongly indicated if swelling and soreness flare up before a storm,
continuing until the weather clears. Cold and dampness aggravate the
symptoms. Discomfort is often worse toward early morning, or after
staying still too long. The person feels better from warmth and
gentle motion, and also after eating.
Rhus toxicodendron: Rheumatoid
arthritis, with pain and stiffness that is worse in the morning and
worse on first motion, but better from continued movement, may be
helped with this remedy. Hot baths or showers, and warm applications
improve the stiffness and relieve the pain. The condition is worse
in cold, wet weather. The person may feel extremely restless, unable
to find a comfortable position, and need to keep moving constantly.
Continued motion also helps to relieve anxiety.
Ruta graveolens: Arthritis with a
feeling of great stiffness and lameness, worse from cold and damp
and worse from exertion, may be helped with this remedy. Tendons and
capsules of the joints can be deeply affected or damaged. The
arthritis may have developed after overuse, from repeated wear and
Select the remedy that
most closely matches the symptoms. In conditions where
self-treatment is appropriate, unless otherwise directed by a
physician, a lower potency (6X, 6C, 12X, 12C, 30X, or 30C)
should be used. In addition, instructions for use are usually
printed on the label.
physicians suggest that remedies be used as follows: Take one
dose and wait for a response. If improvement is seen, continue
to wait and let the remedy work. If improvement lags
significantly or has clearly stopped, another dose may be
taken. The frequency of dosage varies with the condition and
the individual. Sometimes a dose may be required several times
an hour; other times a dose may be indicated several times a
day; and in some situations, one dose per day (or less) can be
If no response is seen
within a reasonable amount of time, select a different remedy.
For more information, including references, see What
is Homeopathy? and Understanding
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scientific studies (human, animal, or in vitro), clinical
experience, or traditional usage as cited in each article.
The results reported may not necessarily occur in all
individuals. For many of the conditions discussed, treatment
with prescription or over-the-counter medication is also
available. Consult your physician, nutritionally oriented
healthcare practitioner, and/or pharmacist for any health
problem and before using any supplements or before making
any changes in prescribed medications.
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